Let's not mince words here—the Chicago Bears are pretty awful without Jay Cutler. For all of the hate he receives on a daily basis, the Chicago Bears become the Teddy Bears for opponents when he isn't in the game.
That was obvious enough as the team was absolutely smoked by the San Francisco 49ers—who weren't slowed down by backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the least—on Monday night, 32-7.
Jason Campbell had a rough night, throwing for just 107 yards and two interceptions (one touchdown) while being sacked five times. The drop-off in talent at the quarterback position was fairly obvious.
And so on the heels of a two-game losing streak and with a stretch of key conference games on the horizon, the team desperately needs Cutler to return. Luckily for Bears fans, coach Lovie Smith had some positive words on his recovery (via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times):
On a night when there wasn't much positive to report, Bears coach Lovie Smith cast hope that starting quarterback Jay Cutler could return for the team's next game against the Minnesota Vikings.
"He was feeling better. He got better as time went along," Smith said of Cutler. "We left him at home, didn't have him fly out.
"He was feeling a lot better by the end of the week so it's looking good.''
Of course, it's no secret that the Bears don't fare well when Cutler misses time. As Kevin Patra of NFL.com noted, "The Bears fell to 2-6 without Cutler in his three-and a-half seasons in Chicago."
Yikes. Those stats should inspire a lengthy, "Long live Cutler!" chant on Chicago's streets this morning.
Yup, I guess the guy who famously gets showered with grief on Twitter for his dour appearance and moody persona is more important to his team than many would like to admit. Guess we'll all have to stop judging players by whether or not we'd like to have a beer with them, huh?
The sooner Cutler returns from a concussion—assuming he's fully recovered and showing no remaining symptoms or effects from the injury, of course—the better for Chicago. The team faces the Minnesota Vikings (twice), Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions down the stretch.
That's no easy slate, and even with Cutler you could easily pencil the Bears in for three losses in those six games. I'm not saying it will happen, but it's not an easy path to traverse.
It's obvious the Bears need Cutler to nip this losing streak in the bud and continue to compete for one of the two top seeds in the NFC, earning the much-desired bye week in the playoffs. With the Atlanta Falcons and 49ers doing their thing—and the Packers on fire—that will be no easy task.
But hey, at least it can't get worse than Monday night.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets predict crazy things like Baylor upsets. Seriously.